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Kroger Orange Pineapple Juice (Kroger)

Juice is one of my favorite beverages. I used to always have some on hand, but lately have been opting for water more frequently, so it’s a once or twice a month purchase instead. Recently, though, I stumbled onto an old friend that I forgot was even available: Orange pineapple juice, available in half-gallon jugs from Kroger.

I’ve mentioned that virtually my only criteria is that it’s “100% juice”, and not juice cocktails. What’s the difference? Cocktails are made primarily with water, and contain small amounts of actual juice (usually around 15%, sometimes more or less). The former consists of “100% juice” in correlation to the definition established by the FDA. There are actually two “definitions” of 100% juice according to the government agency: “Made from Concentrate” are juices that have been vacuum sealed to have all their juices removed during transport, in an effort to save money. Once the fruit arrives at its intended destination, it is then reconstituted with water.

“Not Made from Concentrate” insinuates that the fruit juice has been unmodified from its original texture. In other words, it was freshly squeezed and has been sitting in liquid form ever since. Supposedly, neither option is all that healthy, as most fruit juices contain large amounts of sugar, but I feel like they taste good, have to be healthier than some drinks (like soda), and so I don’t mind downing some.

Enter Kroger’s Orange Pineapple Juice. This actually reminds me of a “pineapple, orange, banana” variety that was offered in stores several years ago (but which I can’t seem to find again). This one ditches the banana completely, in favor of the other two fruits. And while banana is one of my all-time favorites, it’s not all that missed here, because what’s remaining is very delicious on its own.

The orange juice seems to be rather tart and tangy, maybe even a little moreso than regular orange juice (or maybe it just seems that way here). The pineapple, on the other hand, offers up a little bit more acidity, but obviously the more sugary, sweet taste one would expect from the tropical fruit. One area where I suppose the banana is missed after all, is to provide a non-acidic counterbalance to the tropical mixture. I doubt it was contained in high doses, but it was noticeable enough in the flavor. Here, with nothing to counterbalance it, the strength of it is really noticeable, and gives me heartburn if I drink too much.

Another downside, although one that’s down to personal preference, is that there is quite a bit of pulp in the OJ. Considering it’s a combination of two juices – and since there’s no mention of it on the label – I thought for sure it would be pulp-free, since I’m pretty sure that’s what the majority of Americans like. I’m definitely not a fan of it on its own, but especially not here; I was expecting a smooth texture and instead got much more pulpiness than I was expecting. I don’t mind a little bit – it makes it feel more “fresh” – but it seemed like there was as much in here as in a regular carton of OJ with pulp.

At any rate, this is a delicious beverage that combines an underrated juice (pineapple) with a more “mainstream” one to good effect. The $1.99 retail price (for a half gallon, not on sale) is reasonable given the tastiness, and I would imagine that sale prices could only increase the value proposition. This will be one that I will have on hand more often than not.

Overall: 8/10. The combination of two acidic fruits is definitely noticeable, as it has a bite that gives me reflux sometimes, but there’s no denying the taste perfection of the combo. Pineapple juice is an underrated flavor that is deliciously sweet, and the orange juice helps offset that with its more muted sweetness. The $1.99 retail price (for a 64 oz. bottle, at full retail) is reasonable, too. Only other downside for me: There’s quite a bit of pulp in the OJ, which gives it a more “chewy” texture that I wasn’t expecting. Despite that, this is one item I’ll be grabbing again, and probably quite frequently.

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